Parenting Adult Children ~Narcissism Personality Disorder4 min read


Do you have any hope (techniques we can use) for Narcissist to change? I am dealing with a 50 year old son who we have diagnosed (finally) and he is wearing us out emotionally and financially.

Thank you so much,

When I think about this situation I can’t help but ponder on the word “control.”He wants control of his life and is going about it all wrong…………you want to have more control, or influence, over him and he is not a child anymore, despite how he is acting, so you can’t have it by taking it. There is a principle I believe in…………..No one is able to really control anyone but herself.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still have influence on your son. It just means that it is much more difficult now than it would have been years ago, when he was just a boy.

My suggestion to you is this. Do not play any of his games. If he seeks attention in a narcissistic sort of way, don’t give in. You have to decide what you will tolerate and what you won’t. Don’t ignore him. Instead, just describe what he is doing. He needs to hear how he is coming across. Also, you must stay clam and keep the spirit of love with you, or you will not be able to touch his heart while doing this. I would say something like, “Right now you are saying………………..and doing……………..and this makes me think/feel……………I cannot talk to you when you are behaving this way.” Then, just say, “If you said…………………to me I would be more inclined to listen.” Say it with love. If he lives under your roof, then he has to still accept your authority as a parent somewhat.

The other thing to do is constantly work on what you can control; yourself. Don’t let him ruffle you. You can choose what will affect you and what won’t. If he can’t affect you, he will slowly start trying to seek positive attention from you instead of negative which it sounds like he is currently doing.

Lastly, despite his condition, you must treat him like a regular person if he is going to act like a regular person. He is used to getting preferential treatment. This is not healthy. He needs to be held to the same standard as everyone else for success in life. He may never drop all of his narcissistic tendencies by the way side, but he will learn what actions get what responses from you, and this will encourage him to either keep up what he is doing or make a change.

Remember, the only thing you can control is yourself; your responses. Don’t respond with anger, happiness,or jest to anything you don’t want repeated. If you don’t like it, stay calm and silent. Do not get affected.

I hope this makes sense. If he tries to seek attention from you or has a pity party and wants sympathy, don’t participate in it if you don’t like to. Don’t let him manipulate your feelings. If you keep yourself in constant control, then he will learn new ways of communication even at age 50. I do think that a complete reversal at this point would be unusual. So be aware of that. The only way an old dog can learn new tricks is if he is motivated to. It is all his choice, and he doesn’t see the world with the same eyes you and I do.

Just don’t let it get you down or worried. At this point you have your own progression to worry about. If you worry about your own relationship with God and mastering your own behaviors, then he will be inspired by you.

Be sure to praise him when he behaves in a normal way. Tell him you enjoy his company or something like that when he is socially acceptable etc. He is obviously seeking praise with his narcissism, so use praise to mold him in a new direction.

It would also be a good idea for you be become aquainted with the Four Basic Skills which I teach in my seminars and highlight in my book. You need to recognize when you are choosing not to give no answers when you should, and when he needs to accept a no answer. This should especially help with the finances. I know it sounds harsh to make your son have to fend for himself financially, but you won’t be there forever, so it could be one of the nicest things you do for him.

I hope this helps.